High Court halts by-elections in 6 constituencies and at least one council seat

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has called off by-elections in six National Assembly seats after the High Court ruled that there were no vacancies.

The nomination court will also not sit in respect of at least one municipal seat – Ward 3 in Bulawayo – following a court challenge.

ZEC, in a notice on Tuesday, said by-elections were being called off in Nkulumane, Mbizo, Kambuzuma, Mutasa South, Pumula and Harare East following a ruling of the High Court.

The sitting members – all former members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who won the seats standing for the MDC Alliance – were illegally recalled, the High Court has previously ruled. The decision is being appealed by Benjamin Rukanda, claiming to be the PDP secretary general.

The six recalled MPs petitioned the High Court to stop the by-elections on the strength of its earlier ruling that their recalls, purportedly made by a faction of the PDP, were null and void.

“The High Court today (Tuesday) set aside the proclamation made declaring the seats vacant. It further ruled that the order effectively stands, irrespective of an appeal,” a member of the legal team for the six recalled MPs said.

ZEC elections officer Utloile Silaigwana acknowledged the court ruling, adding in a notice: “The proclamation calling for by-elections issued by the president in terms of Statutory Instrument 1 of 2022 on January 6, 2022, is accordingly amended.”

Ward 3 in Bulawayo, covering areas such as Mahatshula, Killarney, Kumalo, Queens Park East, Paddonhurst, Suburbs and Parklands, was won by Tinashe Kambarami in the 2018 elections, who later became deputy mayor.

Kambarami was removed as deputy mayor and recalled as councillor by the MDC-T party led by Douglas Mwonzora, but he is challenging the recall in court.

By-elections are scheduled in 22 National Assembly seats and 104 municipal seats on March 26.

The nomination court is expected to sit on Wednesday, January 26, to register candidates.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!